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Impact on costs and outcomes of multi-gene panel testing for advanced solid malignancies: a cost-consequence analysis using linked administrative data


Background — To date, economic analyses of tissue-based next generation sequencing genomic profiling (NGS) for advanced solid tumors have typically required models with assumptions, with little real-world evidence on overall survival (OS), clinical trial enrollment or end-of-life quality of care.

Methods — Cost consequence analysis of NGS testing (555 or 161-gene panels) for advanced solid tumors through the OCTANE clinical trial (NCT02906943). This is a longitudinal, propensity score-matched retrospective cohort study in Ontario, Canada using linked administrative data. Patients enrolled in OCTANE at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre from August 2016 until March 2019 were matched with contemporary patients without large gene panel testing from across Ontario not enrolled in OCTANE. Patients were matched according to 19 patient, disease and treatment variables. Full 2-year follow-up data was available. Sensitivity analyses considered alternative matched cohorts. Main Outcomes were mean per capita costs (2019 Canadian dollars) from a public payer’s perspective, OS, clinical trial enrollment and end-of-life quality metrics.

Findings — There were 782 OCTANE patients with 782 matched controls. Variables were balanced after matching (standardized difference <0.10). There were higher mean health-care costs with OCTANE ($79,702 vs. $59,550), mainly due to outpatient and specialist visits. Publicly funded drug costs were less with OCTANE ($20,015 vs. $24,465). OCTANE enrollment was not associated with improved OS (restricted mean survival time [standard error]: 1.50 (±0.03) vs. 1.44 (±0.03) years, log-rank p = 0.153), varying by tumor type. In five tumor types with ≥35 OCTANE patients, OS was similar in three (breast, colon, uterus, all p > 0.40), and greater in two (ovary, biliary, both p < 0.05). OCTANE was associated with greater clinical trial enrollment (25.4% vs. 9.5%, p < 0.001) and better end-of-life quality due to less death in hospital (10.2% vs. 16.4%, p = 0.003). Results were robust in sensitivity analysis.

Interpretation — We found an increase in healthcare costs associated with multi-gene panel testing for advanced cancer treatment. The impact on OS was not significant, but varied across tumor types. OCTANE was associated with greater trial enrollment, lower publicly funded drug costs and fewer in-hospital deaths suggesting important considerations in determining the value of NGS panel testing for advanced cancers.



Hernando-Calvo A, Nguyen P, Bedard PL, Chan KKW, Saleh RR, Weymann D, Yu C, Amir E, Regier DA, Gyawali B, Kain D, Wilson B, Earle CC, Mittmann N, Razak ARA, Isaranuwatchai W, Sabatini P, Spreafico A, Stockley TL, Pugh TJ, Williams C,  Siu LL, Hanna TP.  EClinicalMedicine. 2024; 69:102443. Epub 2024 Feb 12.

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